ESSENDON has surged into the top-eight after securing a third win from four starts with a 20-point victory over Fremantle.
Despite starting in the competition two years after their opponents, the Bombers showed up the Dockers in an impressive display at Windy Hill on Sunday.
BOMBERS v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats
Essendon trailed at half-time but kicked five goals to two after the main break to run out winners 7.8 (50) to 4.6 (30), continuing the Bombers' rise in just their second season in the competition.
Co-captain Bonnie Toogood starred with two goals and a game-high 22 possessions and Jacqui Vogt also stepped up with two majors.
"It's unbelievable here at Windy, to play a heartland venue," Toogood said after the game.
"To see the Reynolds Stand packed like that, it's fantastic.
"Us engaging Essendon fans of women's footy is phenomenal and it's good to get the win, that's for sure.
"We needed to bring it (the game) back on our terms in the stoppage and start getting it moving our way and then we could get our forwards to go to work."
Essendon was comfortably the best performed of the four new teams last season, finishing with four wins and well ahead of Sydney, Hawthorn and Port Adelaide.
The Bombers finished 10th last year but could be on track to make the top-eight almost halfway through this season.
Fremantle, a foundation club in 2017, continued its hot-and-cold start to the season to be 2-2 having not been able to string together consecutive wins yet.
Angelique Stannett was the Dockers' only multiple goal-kicker with two, while Emma O'Driscoll was their leading possession winner with 22.
Toogood by name, too good by nature
In an otherwise tight contest, the difference between the sides at Windy Hill on Sunday was almost solely down to Bonnie Toogood. The former Bulldog finished with 22 disposals, laid nine tackles and kicked two goals - the first fittingly giving the Bombers the lead in the opening quarter, the second snatching it back again just after half-time. Toogood now has seven goals for the season and has arguably been Essendon's best player in each of the first four rounds.
Nanscawen goals ... at last
It's been a long, interrupted career for Georgia Nanscawen after debuting for North Melbourne in 2019, before being delisted at the end of the season. Three sparkling years for Essendon at state league level followed before the Bombers named her their first signing - and co-captain - for their inaugural AFLW team, but a knee injury saw her miss the season. So when Nanscawen kicked her first national league goal on Sunday afternoon it was a moment to savour for the 31-year-old, her teammates and the Bombers faithful in the stands.
"Probably what I'm most impressed with the group is just our ability to really fight back in the second half. I thought the resilience of the group to take it up to another level after half-time was excellent. One of the things we looked at at the end of last year, our pressure rating was pretty poor ... so we put a power of work into being better defensively." - Natalie Wood, Essendon coach
"We just thought our mindset was off early, the way we went away from some of our structures and that probably let us down and at times we were just plugging those holes." - Lisa Webb, Fremantle coach
Fremantle will return to Melbourne for a clash with Richmond at Ikon Park next Friday, while Essendon faces Collingwood at Punt Rd on Saturday just hours before the AFL men's Grand Final.
ESSENDON 2.0 2.1 5.5 7.8 (50)
FREMANTLE 1.2 2.5 3.5 4.6 (30)
Essendon: Toogood 2, Vogt 2, Radford, Nanscawen, Doonan
Fremantle: Stannett 2, Lally, Antonio
Essendon: Toogood, Wales, Prespakis, Alexander, Cain
Fremantle: Stannett, O'Driscoll, Bowers, Cregg, Strom
Fremantle: Bowers (knee)
Crowd: 2,822 at Windy Hill